The Ayodhya district administration on Monday denied the Vishwa Hindu Parishad permission to light lamps at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site during Diwali, IANS reported.

This came a day after restrictive orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which bans the assembly of more than four people, were imposed in the temple town. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad was planning to light 5,100 earthen lamps.

District Commissioner Manoj Misra reportedly told a delegation of the Hindutva outfit’s leaders that “no religious activity beyond the Supreme Court’s mandate on the issue will be allowed”.

“Any type of new tradition will not be allowed at the disputed site,” Misra told News18. “Only those religious activities will be allowed which are permitted by the apex court.” He reportedly told the Hindutva group to approach the top court with its request.

In 1993, the Supreme Court prohibited any kind of religious activity in the disputed area, allowing only the chief priest to perform routine prayers, including offering of food.

Hazi Mehboob, one of the litigants in the case, objected to the Hindutva group’s demand and asked for permission to offer namaz if the VHP is allowed to celebrate Diwali at the site. Mehboob added the top court had ruled that status quo should be maintained at the site.

Proceedings in the Supreme Court in connection with the dispute will end on October 17. The final ruling is expected by November 17.

A five-judge Constitution bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, has been hearing the case every day since August. The Ayodhya dispute has been going on for several decades, with both Hindu and Muslim groups claiming their right to the land. The Babri Masjid stood there before it was demolished in 1992 by Hindutva activists.

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